You’ve got the job.
Now you need to keep it.
With the tough job market and concerns about student loan debt ratcheting up the worry levels, it makes sense to think about how to make yourself indispensable at work.
That way, when it’s time for lay offs – or even if you want a promotion or raise – you are more likely to be considered a valuable company asset.
If you’re trying to figure out how to make sure your employer finds you necessary, here are several strategies to try:
1. Develop strengths valuable to your company.
Pay attention. What skills does your company value?
A surefire way to become indispensable at work is to have strengths that your employer relies on.
It’s not enough just have a valuable skill, though. You also need to be one of the few people who possess it. Figure out what your strengths are, and then determine how they can translate into necessary skills that are somewhat rare at your company.
Once you do that, they’ll never want to let you go.
2. Cultivate a good attitude.
The better your attitude, the better you are for the company. True, positivity can’t make up for a lot of things, but it does go a long way.
If you are positive, see opportunities, and are good for morale, your employer will likely decide that you’re necessary. When it comes down to a choice between letting go of one of two employees, and one of you is a downer, it’s the downer that is usually out, all other things being equal.
Don’t be a downer.
3. Stay current with technology and skills.
If you’re up-to-date on all the latest technology and best practices, you are more valuable to your employer.
Plus, it can be enriching and a good way to invest in yourself to stay current with technology and keep your skills up to date.
Show that you are interested in remaining relevant in your field. As you continue to expand your skill set and ensure that your company stays ahead of the curve, you’ll make yourself indispensable at work.
4. Focus on tasks that matter.
It’s tempting to bang out a bunch of easy tasks to look productive. But almost anyone can do the easy stuff.
Instead, look to accomplish things that matter. They might not be super-easy things, but they should have a bigger impact. If you develop a reputation for doing things that matter you will be more likely to be considered indispensable.
5. Go the extra mile.
You’d think this goes without saying: go the extra mile. However, it often does need saying.
Is there a way you can add extra value? Do you go above and beyond?
When you can show that you do more than is expected, or if you can add an extra twist, you are seen as a valuable resource. You want to be seen as someone who will continue to help move the company forward, rather than someone who does the bare minimum.
It doesn’t mean you have to work overtime every week or let work take over your life. But if you can add that extra bit to your work, you will be more valuable overall.
6. Be a team player.
Are you a helper? When others know that they can come to you for a little extra help, you are likely to be seen as dispensable at work.
Collaboration is increasingly becoming a major part of doing business. If you can’t play nice with others, your employer is likely to see you as a liability, rather than an asset.
Do your best to help the team and show that you are willing to move forward with goals. Stay focused on the team goals and be ready to help the company, and your bosses will feel much better about keeping you around.
7. Show reliability.
One of the best ways to make yourself indispensable at work is to be reliable. If you say you’re going to do something, can you be trusted to do it?
Meet your deadlines and be someone that others trust. Avoid over-promising. Do your best to accurately estimate what you can accomplish – and when you can reasonably get it done. Then, if you can’t meet your obligation, let someone know ASAP.
However, if you are constantly late and unable to keep up, that could indicate an issue in how you manage expectations. Review how you do things and what you can realistically get done. Underpromise and over deliver on a consistent basis, and you’ll gain a reputation for reliability.
8. Build important relationships.
Sometimes it really is about who you know. And it’s not about sucking up to your boss’s boss.
Instead, it’s more about building relationships with people important to your company. Is there a client that you could connect with and become point person with?
Can you help build a partnership? Can you introduce someone as a consultant to help solve a problem?
Think about the relationships you can enhance in work and business. As you build these relationships with your co-workers, supervisors, clients, and others, you will be seen as an integral part of the workplace, and someone to keep around.
9. Make your supervisor’s job easier.
If you really want to be indispensable at work, make your supervisor’s job easier. Do what you can to pitch in, help out, and solve problems. When your supervisor can trust you, s/he is more likely to go to bat for you.
Your supervisor knows what you do to help them with work. When they look good, and your efforts are part of the reason, they know it. Supervisors want to keep people around when they help them look good.
As a team player and as someone who shows skills and abilities that can help your company, you can become indispensable at work.